Tuesday, March 4, 2008

By Geoff Bilau, Angelswin Senior Editor

At some point during the 1979 Angels season, a new statistic was born. Though the abbreviation RBI has traditionally stood for “runs batted in,” Angels cleanup hitter Don Baylor redefined it to mean “runs Baylored in.”

The outfielder/DH, acquired as a free agent prior to the 1977 season, was so adept at producing in the clutch during the Angels first division championship season that radio play-by-play man Dick Enberg coined the new phrase. And he used it a lot.

Baylor batted .296 with 36 home runs and a still franchise best 139 RBI, netting him 20 of a possible 28 first place votes for the American League MVP award. For good measure, Baylor also scored 120 runs, which like his RBI total also led the league.

Baylor got off to blazing start, driving in a then league record 28 runs in April, and never cooled off. On April 21, he belted a grand slam during the Angels 13-1 victory over the Athletics. On May 15, Baylor beat the Brewers with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie.

On August 8, Baylor was already sitting at 98 RBI and hit the century mark in style, connecting in the third inning off the Athletics’ Matt Keough for a two-run shot for Nos. 99 and 100. Baylor went 4-for-5 with that home run, a double and later added an RBI-single for RBI No. 101.

But the man they called Groove was hardly satisfied with that. On Aug. 25, Baylor had one of the best single days in Angels history against Toronto, as the Angels blistered the Blue Jays, 24-2. Baylor belted two home runs and drove in a career-high eight runs.

It was simply one of those seasons where everything fell into place.

"Everyday I went to the park, I knew I'd get two or three hits and some RBI," Baylor recalled. "In mid-December, I started jogging 2 1/2 to 3 miles a day, so I'd be in the best shape ever. In 1978 I hit 34 home runs and 99 RBI, and I was really longing for that 100th. After April, I had (nearly) 30, and I knew I was on a roll."

In addition to leading the league in RBI and runs scored, Baylor also led (or tied for the lead) the Angels in home runs, triples (5), doubles (33) and stolen bases (22). He played in all 162 games and, perhaps most amazingly, struck out only 51 times in 628 at-bats.

For the Angels in 1979, Baylor was without question their MVP: Most Valuable Producer.
Love to hear what you think!


Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels!

AngelsWin.com Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | AngelsWin.com

AngelsWin.com is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  AngelsWin.com blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to AngelsWin.com become the ownership of AngelsWin.com for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through AngelsWin.com  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. AngelsWin.com may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of AngelsWin.com is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on AngelsWin.com is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the AngelsWin.com without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.